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Midweek Round-up: vs Jacksonville State

Jacksonville State @ #7 Auburn

  • Tuesday: 11 – 6 L

The recent ails of the Auburn Tigers continued Tuesday night as Auburn didn’t have enough offense and couldn’t get outs in pressure situations, completive moments as Coach Thompson calls them, and Auburn fell to Jacksonville State 11-6 Tuesday night. The evening started off well enough with the Tigers hanging 6 runs on the Gamecocks in the first 3 innings, highlighted by this absolute bomb from The Mountie…

Garrett Wade started strong as well, getting through the first 3 innings unscathed. The bottom fell out after that for both offense and pitching for the Tigers. By the time the Auburn offense picked up the bats in the 4th, it was 6-6 and Auburn would not be able to get any of the 4 base runners it would have from the 4th until the end of the game past 1st base. After Wade was pulled from the game, Ryan Watson would be able to keep the Tigers in it with 2.1 good innings of work, only allowing 1 run during that disastrous 4th that tied up the game. Following that though, Elliott Anderson, Brooks Fuller and Carson Skipper would go a combined .2 innings of work facing 10 batters and allowing 5 runs in the 7th inning alone. Will Morrison would come in and have an excellent 3 innings, getting the Gamecocks in order with a combo of groundouts and fly outs.

After the game Coach Thompson said, “I’m waiting for us to hit rock bottom and get it all out of our system and reset.” Looking at the schedule, this is about as rock bottom as it can get for the Tigers. Only a home game against North Alabama in mid-May is a more winnable game and if rock bottom doesn’t happen till then, it won’t bode well for this team’s NCAA Tournament and perhaps even SEC Tournament chances. I could say this one is on pitching depth and experience but Auburn had its first out of the pen arm go for 6 batters and only get 2 outs. The problem Auburn has right now is that they can’t pitch to get outs and they at bats are not there to drive in runs. Heck, the at bats aren’t there to get people on base! Auburn had 2 hits and 2 walks from the 4th-9th. They only left 2 on after that because of a double play and a pick off of a base runner at 1st. In baseball this is called a slump. It happened last year and it happens to almost every team. The question to each team is, can you break out of it and how long will it take. Auburn is HOPEFUL that Jack Owen can pitch some this weekend in Aggie Land, they are also HOPEFUL to get back Davis Daniel by the Alabama series (May 3rd). Those will definitely help the pitching staff and hopefully the psyche of the Auburn offense as neither of those guys (normally) swing a bat. Something has to give though if Auburn wants to make it 3 seasons in a row in the NCAA Tournament.

Around the League

#2 Vanderbilt

  • @ Middle Tennessee, TUE: 15-3 W

MTSU has been a thorn in the side of the Dores the past couple of years so this is a good one to get past the Raiders. Now Vandy turns their attention back to Dudley Field to try and get back on the winning path but to do so, they will have to go through the Arkansas Razorbacks in what is the series of the weekend in the conference and perhaps the nation. I know the Friday game is on the SEC Network Friday night while game 2 is on ESPNU so settle in and enjoy what should be a good series.

#6 Georgia

  • vs Georgia Tech, TUE: 12-2 W

Fantastic RPI win for the Dawgs as they begin to move into the Scary category this year. I wasn’t sure Georgia would have the pitching or the power to hang with teams this year but so far they have both in spades. This weekend against Tennessee will be interesting though as the Vol pitching staff looks to be figuring things out. The question will be can Tennessee get enough runs to steal a couple from the Dawgs.

#8 Texas A&M

  • vs Texas State, TUE: 5-3 L

Not a shocking loss but a surprise to be sure. Every team in Texas can beat you on any given day but they Aggies looked strong enough to withstand that. Now A&M prepares to host a reeling Auburn team. We will get into this one more in a bit.

#10 LSU

  • @ Southern, TUE: 7-2 L

Now this one is a shocker. LSU looked to have things falling into place. Since dropping their 4th in a row during the Thursday night game at Mississippi State, the Tigers had gone 6-1 including winning a road series at State and a home series vs A&M. Then came in the Jaguars of Southern, who are a good team don’t misunderstand, but not beat an LSU team scoreless through 6 and to 2 hits through the entire game good. And the guy below is the one who held them to 1 run on 1 hit.

You’re welcome ladies. LSU heads to CoMo now to take on Mizzou who is a pesky team if you don’t take them seriously.

#11 Arkansas

  • vs Oral Roberts, TUE: 15-8 W

ORU is still a good ball club but Arkansas is a well-oiled machine at this point. Now the Piggies try to make it 2 road series wins in a row this weekend but it will be a much taller task against Vanderbilt.

#16 Mississippi State

  • South Alabama, WED: 7-5 W

Any win over USA is a good win so good on the Bulldogs, and all on Game of Thrones night at the ballpark. To start, the first 400 fans got this awesome shirt,

Then, they had this fantastic open video for the team.

And if that weren’t enough…

A FREAKING SLUGGER THRONE! I am so building that in my office this weekend. If you couldn’t tell I am kind of excited for Sunday night.

But back to baseball. The Bulldogs now prepare to host the Tide, and wait till you see what they did to Samford. This one should be a series win for State but beware of the Tide this year. They are much better than they have been.

#20 Tennessee

  • vs Lipscomb, TUE: 11-2 W

Nothing to see here from a competition standpoint. Tennessee tries to find that statement game against Georgia this weekend. The Vols are 2-7 against ranked SEC teams so far this year, which isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, but a series win over Georgia would definitely turn things around in that department.

#23 Florida

  • @ Florida State, TUE: 3-1 W

Any win over the Noles makes me personally happy. *QUICK SIDE NOTE* FSU is getting close to panic mode from missing the Tournament all together. Currently at 19-13 (7-8 in the ACC) the Noles have an RPI of 98. I’m not saying they will miss the tourney but right now, hosting seems a pipe dream. It’s just shocking to see though, after starting the season 13-1 and picking up Mike Martin’s 2,000th win, FSU has gone 6-12. Definitely not what you normally see out of the ‘Hassee. Back to Florida, solid win after a really rough weekend and now they get set to host South Carolina in Gainesville, starting tonight.

#25 Ole Miss

  • vs Southern Miss (@ Pearl, MS), TUE: 11-2 W

Another solid win as Mike Bianco seems to have the ship out of the slump they were in. Now the Rebs welcome in the Bat Cats….prepare for a 3 game sweep.

Alabama

  • @ Samford, TUE: 21-2 W

GOODNESS! That’s unexpected. Casey Dunn normally rallies the troops against SEC competition but not on Tuesday night…

Now the Tide will head up 82 to take on Mississippi State. If you are an Alabama baseball fan (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, Bama fans that are fans of sports than football on that campus…that’s rich), this will be a good litmus test to see where this team is this year.

South Carolina

  • vs Charlotte, TUE: 5-4 W

Big win for Carolina just from a confidence stand point. The Gamecocks have dropped every SEC Series so far this season and now head to Gainesville where Florida is pretty good at home. Not a fantastic recipe for a team that is trying to figure out the puzzle, but there is no pity in this conference. You either take advantage of your chances or you lose.

Missouri

  • @ SIU-Edwardsville, TUE: 10-3 W

Nice midweeker for the Tigers as they get set to host LSU. Mizzou has had some good wins including a series win over Ole Miss but now they host the LSU Tigers in another litmus test series for Missouri.

Kentucky

  • @ Lipscomb, WED: 6-2 W

This falls under a good confidence building win but I have a feeling that won’t last long…The Ole Miss Rebels are next, in Oxford…

On Deck (with SEC Schedule)

  • #3 Georgia @ #22 Tennessee
  • South Carolina @ Florida
  • #6 Arkansas @ #4 Vanderbilt
  • #7 LSU @ Missouri
  • Alabama @ #9 Mississippi State
  • #17 Auburn @ #13 Texas A&M
  • Kentucky @ #16 Ole Miss

As the home stand comes to an end, Auburn hits the road for 4 exceptionally tough games, starting with 3 in College Station against a top 15 Aggie ball club. Prepare yourselves for one of the best 1-2 punches in all of college baseball with John Doxakis and Asa Lacy. Doxakis brings in a 3-2 record with just a 2.05 ERA while Lacy has been dominant at 6-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Both have gone 48+ innings and have combined to give up just 25 walks in 348 batters faced. Sunday has been the question mark so far for the Aggies but look for Dustin Saenz, Chris Weber or Chandler Jozwiak to get the nod. At the plate, it doesn’t get any easier at the plate. All everything Braden Shewmake is back for his 17th season (HE’S ONLY A JUNIOR, HOW IN THE WORLD IS HE ONLY A JUNIOR?!?!) and he hasn’t let up a bit, with a .331 BA, an .875 OPS and is second on the team with 3 Home Runs, only trailing Bryce Blaum. Mikey Hoehner and Logan Foster are also batting over .300 while Blaum, Cam Blake and Ty Coleman are all just a under that. With a road series, Auburn could really use a win and get out of town. That would make Auburn 8-7 in the conference and a return home next weekend against Ole Miss who is hot as fire right now. The thing I am looking for is want to from this team though. Consistent at bats and command of their pitches are the goals. Auburn is playing themselves this weekend more than just Texas A&M. Auburn must get back to playing solid baseball if they hope to beat any of the teams remaining on their schedule. Do that and the rest will follow.